I will never forget driving through the red light district. We left before dawn because it's the safest time. The women were sleeping after a long night of work. I felt unsettled. A distinct darkness permeates the streets--one that can only be comprehended if experienced firsthand. Despite the horrific things that take place there, I am hopeful for the change and restoration that will replace pain and exploitation in the lives of these beautiful girls. I can't wait to see the day when the dreaming and planning comes to fruition. The need is immense.
Today we had another early morning. We left the hospital at 5:30am to participate in the daily feeding program that takes place just a few miles from the heart of the city. Mercy Ministries feeds 25,000 people daily through this program. What we witnessed was shocking. The city continues to push the most impoverished of its members farther away from the rest of society as if to hide the utterly destitute. Women and children walk for miles and line up to receive what will be their one and only meal of the day.
Where are the men? Sitting at home nursing their hangovers after a long night of drinking. Meanwhile, a garbage heap the size of 10 football fields haunts you in the distance. To make matters worse, the main road is lined with countless leather tanneries. Toxic chemical waste runs from these tanneries down into the water supply. This polluted, pernicious water is used for the agriculture that feeds the unsuspecting city. Not a single thing is done to change this. Despite the chaos around me, I found peace in the beautiful faces of hunger. I'm proud to share these faces with you. These are the faces of inspiration.